Why Volunteerism Matters

April is National Volunteer Month, so we thought we’d dedicate this month to our volunteers and recognize their socioeconomic impact to our community – after all, relying on volunteers to solve community problems is how we got started!

So let’s talk numbers! In 2016-2017, SoFIA saved Broward County approximately 6.4 million dollars! Over 600 volunteers traveled throughout Broward County offering their service in various settings and engaging various populations. Our volunteers engage children in Title I Schools; visit homebound seniors and adults with disabilities; provide respite to caregivers; mentor Veterans involved in the court system; and also ensure nonprofits maintain their ability to serve the community.

So, how do we calculate the value of volunteer hours? This information is made available by the Independent Sector and The Corporation for National and Community Service. These two entities release yearly reports that help us better interpret the savings provided by volunteers to the county. The Corporation for National and Community Service reported 63 million Americans donated 8 billion service hours in 2016; and the Independent Sector estimated the monetary value of those hours at $24.14 dollars per hour. So, what does this information mean? Based upon the weighted average of $20 dollars per volunteer hour since approximately the year 2000; we can estimate our agency’s socioeconomic value in Broward County to have exceeded $300 million dollars from 2000-2015. WOW!

We are incredibly proud of our volunteers. The love and compassion with which they serve our communities and the social improvement that they provide through their civic engagement is inspiring. The psychosocial benefits that exist through volunteerism allows volunteers to feel purposeful and at-risk clients to feel cared for- this further unites our communities in a way that is absolutely…priceless.

Check out this blog and our Facebook page as all this month we will feature the stories of some of these amazing volunteers. SoFIA will host various Volunteer Appreciation Luncheons to thank our volunteers for their valuable work. By participating in SoFIA’s Civic Engagement programs, our volunteers make it possible for us to advance our mission of improving social and economic insights and services to empower people as they age.

To learn more about National Service Recognition Events, please visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/Recognitionday

To learn more of the monetary value assigned to volunteer hours, please visit (https://independentsector.org/news-post/value-volunteer-time/)

Peter Kaldes